The Virtual Scroll: An Excerpt

Thu 12/25/08 at 4:52 pm

Decades after Mother’s death her father told Tink, well, mentioned to her, almost in passing, that the first Christmas after Mother’s death he had walked out to the cemetery. It was that comment, more than anything else, which finally endeared him to her. Since the telling she has taken the journey with him more than once in her mind’s eye. She watches as the darkened figure of her father slips out the door of Grandma’s house in the earliest hours of Christmas morning, makes his way down the two blocks back to Zion Lutheran where the candlelight service had been held a few hours before. He hangs a left, walks through the small downtown, continues past the water tower, over the railroad tracks. Just out of town, he turns right, for perhaps another half mile, no more, to what Tink described in a poem she wrote shortly after the death as the “evergreen land with only eleven trees.” She sees Mother’s gravestone, with its single granite rose and the Lutheran seal, and the names, Osnes writ large, and then John, 1925 — , and Betty, 1927 — 1970. It sits at the southwestern end. (If, indeed, all graves point east toward the rising sun, ambiguity intended.) Tink listens as her Father, in a tear-filled voice, speaks aloud to his “Beck.” Tells her he misses her. Loved her. Then she watches as her father slowly turns and makes his solitary way back to life and living people and things understood. But part of Tink, perhaps the best part, dwells there still.

next post: Virtual Scroll: Take 2

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